Boots & Sabers

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0705, 02 Jun 16

Tenure Not Needed for Academic Freedom

Except for the part about putting it into law, I agree with Chris Rickert.

Having a job for life might have been tenure’s allure for faculty. For citizens, tenure at a public university should be about the freedom to pursue knowledge even if that knowledge upsets the powerful.

You don’t need job-for-life tenure guarantees for that, though. You need rules like the ones in System policy andstate administrative code saying you can’t get fired for exercising academic freedom. A state law would be nice, too.

Otherwise, it’s only democratic that citizens, through their elected representatives, should have broad powers to shape state universities and their faculties.

If citizens change their minds, they can always elect new representatives. It’s not like the old ones have tenure.


0705, 02 June 2016


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Tenure is overt permission to be lazy and get paid for it!

    It was always a bad idea.

  2. John Foust

    The WisGOP does have all the benefits of gerrymandering, of course.

    I’d love to see the academic freedom statute that Walker, Vos, and Fitz would craft. Can you imagine what they’d leave out and what they’d toss in?

  3. old baldy


    I agree; what is the difference between the gerrymandered districts and academic tenure? My representative is overtly lazy and hasn’t returned a call, e-mail or letter in over two years.

  4. Jerry

    One does not have academic freedom when the degree of freedom is determined by those in power. If anyone thinks that the academic freedom that Vos and Walker would grant would allow for the pursuit of truth no matter where that search might lead……..then you simply haven’t been paying attention to the actions of these two or the manner in which they choose to govern!

  5. John Foust

    It’s not like the WisGOP would punish and threaten the faculty if they were simply expressing their opinions, right?

    Certainly they’d give them wide latitude when it came to academic freedom, just the same as if they had tenure!

    I kid, I kid.

    I’m still looking for the study that showed that tenure was the biggest problem with the UW’s budget. “Jobs for life” was just the phrase du jour, meant to rile up the base.

  6. Rufus T. Firefly

    Does Texas A&M have tenure, Owen? If so, what are you doing to help free your alma mater from it?

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